Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome Christmas

fah who rah moose.

The Whos are in Who-ville, and I am in bed watching them. Cookies are baked and presents are ... mockingly unwrapped but there's always tomorrow. Our Christmas Eve looks to be a low key day, so I hope yours is as peaceful as you'd like it to be too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Made cookies today

and rejoiced that this is our last Christmas with the ridiculous oven. Time for cookies is supposed to be between 8-12 minutes, right? The first ones took 22, and the last ones took 14. The banana bread was in the oven for... about 2 and a half hours. Seriously.

Lots of things I'm going to miss (and am decidedly NOT thinking about today), but this stove, sure ain't going to be one of them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Tivo and I will be happy, regardless

It has not stopped snowing here since 1:00 on Friday afternoon, which, by my count makes it 56 hours. It is beautiful to watch, but that is because I am not the one who has to shovel it. My job, as relates to the snow, is to put out clean towels (and warm ones, if possible) for the people coming in. If I am up to it, I also put on the hot water (although nobody has used it yet: it would be the one time I didn't put it on that they'd come in wanting tea or hot chocolate or some such). The little tree in our front yard is covered tip to root, and has no underneath at all: only snow. We've got well over a foot, I should imagine. A lot of schools are closed from now until the 5th of January... no sense heating up the school for a possible half day on Tuesday. Come the end of June, there'll be some grumpy kids (and grumpier teachers), but that's a worry for another day.

For today, there is a Tivo who automatically records everything with the words "holiday, Christmas, or special", and that leaves me with a surfeit of wonderful Christmas movies and specials to watch. Not to mention the ones we already have: tomorrow is to be Love, Actually, the Muppets, and all the old Christmas cartoons that we taped off the television for the past 20 years (complete with vintage commercials! There's M&M commericals, people!) and present wrapping. That's an almost perfect day in my book, peaceful and calm, little energy required, plenty of resting as needed.

I hope wherever you are - snowed in or not - you're enjoying your Sunday, taking what peace you can find. And if today begins the holidays for you and your family, my very best Hanukkah wishes.

(Oh, and in case you don't have videos or Tivo to keep you company, check out the entire week's posts over at the Collective: they've got a lot of fabulous YouTube clips up, which basically include my entire playlist for tomorrow.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is there some sort of reason that people consider Groundhog Day to be a Christmas movie? I found 2 clips (so far) on YouTube that include Groundhog Day in their Christmas montages... I don't get it. I think it's pretty clear that that is, in actuallity, a GROUNDHOG DAY movie. In fact, it is the only Groundhog Day movie I can think of. So let's not gyp Groundhog Day, here people: let it have its one movie - Christmas has plenty of its own to chose from.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We got about 6-8 inches of snow today, and, while the heaviest stuff is done, it's not over yet. Since I don't have any plans for leaving the house, I say "bring it on". We were out when it started, and I realized it must be at least two years since I've been outside while it's snowing - probably a lot longer than that, but I know I wouldn't have done it purposefully last winter, and I can't think of any that might have happened otherwise. Today it was just coming back into the house at the very beginning of the storm, with about an inch down, all white, crisp and powdery.

It's a fresh kind of feeling, at first. Everything's so quiet and hushed.

Nature and I were never bosom buddies, but there are times I miss simply being able to go out and just be. To feel snowflakes melt as they hit my cheeks or to watch clouds float by in a bright summer sky.

So although I was soaked through getting the 40 feet from the driveway to the door, it was kind of refreshing - something different to add to my day.

And then I got to watch everybody else from inside with all my heating pads and blankets, so that's pretty damn good too.

See you later, alligators. I'm off to watch the wind die down.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Took the kiddos to see Santa today

and nobody cried.

And a bunch of us "grown ups" managed to decorate the tree tonight.

And still, nobody cried.

Even if it hurts,

That is a good day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stark Numbers

For a few weeks now, I've been seeing a behavioral specialist that my new primary care doctor recommended. At our first appointment, I told her that I was looking for new - to me - ways to manage my pain, up to and including heroin. I may have been joking, but I'm not entirely sure I will be able to say the same three weeks from now if this pain continues unchecked as it has been. (Yes: the Lyrica helps. It helps so marginally, though, that I'd stop taking it if that margin wasn't the difference between "needs to be committed because she can't stop screaming from pain" and "is able to limit screams just to when people touch her".) So she recommended a behavioral specialist that helps people with chronic illnesses find new ways of coping with the pain. I probably still would have preferred the drugs, but I went anyways. I went because my pain and I? We're so tangled up together that there's really no separating it from me anymore, and I just don't want to live like that: it isn't how I need my life to be. So, if it isn't going to get better/go away, then I need to deal with it better, because I feel sometimes that it is swallowing me whole.

The specialist is actually part of a group, and since I couldn't see her, I'm seeing an intern, who I really like. She's very nice, and has managed to - in the two sessions we've had - grasp what I am trying to say even when I feel like I am babbling like a fool. We talked a lot about how I am managing (or not managing) the challenges of living with chronic pain and illness, and she's going to see what she can do for me as far as additional strategies go. At the end of our last session, two weeks ago, she gave me a homework assignment, which was to track my pain. She gave me a week's worth of worksheets (she was sick last week, which is why I didn't have an appt.), and told me to try to circle a number for pain every hour I was awake.

This is not a new experience for me: in 14 years of dealing with this, if I hadn't have somehow tried to keep track of good days and bad days by now, then I don't know that you could call me very smart at all. But it's been a few years since I've done it, in that way that things come up - babies get born and start wiping poop on your face, houses get sold and you have to pack all your belongings up in under 2 months, grandmothers get sick and die in the same short time period - and you get too busy to do more record keeping type stuff. So, I had no problem doing it again.

I think, a lot of the time, that the people in my life are confused about my pain: they think I'm either exaggerating or that it can't possibly be as bad as it sounds. The thing is? I know that I actually understate the whole thing, so as not to spend each day focused solely on myself, so that I don't seem like a constant complainer who nobody ever wants to be around. I try to only grimace when Lil Girl hugs me or my uncle pats me on the back, rather than bursting into tears, which is how bad it truly hurts. I try not to moan every time I move, like my dad does when his back is killing him, because I hate that! I try to keep the whining to a minimum; try to do for myself when I can so that when I can't someone is willing to help; try to make my life as ordinary as it can be.

But the truth is?

During all of that, I am in pain. A lot of pain.

Always. It doesn't go away, not ever.

When I go to the doctor and say "I can't remember a pain free day. I don't remember what that feels like anymore." Or "my pain is 7 out of 10 - on a GOOD day," I am not exaggerating: that is as honest as I can be.

But I can't explain how I do manage to get up and get dressed (some days) and watch Lil Girl or try to go shopping or scrapbook or make cookies or any of the relatively small things I do that make up my every day. I can't explain it satisfactorily to myself, let alone to other people. "If your pain is that high, if you're really not sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night,you wouldn't even be able to function" a family member said to me recently. And the truth is? That sounds right to me, but I know it's wrong: I make it through my days, doing what I can do, living with what I can't do, because that's what I have to do. I don't have a choice - it's just the way it is. This is the functioning I am able to do, so it's what I do.

The pain is not going to go away if I wait long enough; the fatigue isn't going to get better no matter how long I rest (3 years of sleeping 18 hours a day certainly cleared up that mystery for me), and time is going to pass, life is going to move on whether I do anything or not, so I do what I have to do.

And now I'm wandering away from my point (there's a point) more than a little.

My point was that seeing my pain quantified in those little charts (which, because I am sad, I have since converted into an Excel worksheet. Complete with graphs. Seriously: professional student much?) was a surprise to me.

Not that I didn't know the actuality of living my life, but seeing these numbers? Has really brought up a lot of conflicting emotions for me.

It's made me angry, because I see how much of my life is really consumed by pain. There's no real emerging pattern, which drives me crazy. It's so frustrating to see it all in black and white (and colors: wait till you see the colors) because I just want to erase all the high numbers and start over. It's also made me really conscious of the levels of pain - having to seriously consider where I was at, every hour, made it more possible to see all the different yet subtle ways I was feeling better or worse.

I want to print it out and stick it on the refrigerator, or e-mail it to everyone I know or ever met and be like: "See?!? This is what it's like to be me: This is what I'm dealing with. Look at all those 5s and 4s!!! Now ask me again why I'm not working but instead 'sucking up your social security'!" At the same time, I want to hide it... I'm a little bit ashamed of it, that it's gotten this bad. I want to ignore it, to not have to face it.

It makes me want to cry - with grief, because this is my reality and there is no ignoring it and with relief, because I'm not going crazy, it really is as bad as it seems.

And it makes me hope, really hope, that when I go in for my appointment tomorrow, she'll have some magic up her sleeve. It's the season for miracles, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last week there was a major ice storm

and my family and I were largely unaffected (SisterS up in NH lost her power for 2 days, but the only real loss there was their fish: IDK why she didn't just put them in a bowl of clean water or something... it's beyond me). Others are still without power, nearly a week later.

And tonight the weatherman tells us that it is going to snow three more times in their little five day forecast:

Starting, oh about now, and lasting till noon tomorrow,with most of it being washed away but tomorrow night.
Again on Friday, with a much higher chance of a couple of inches sticking and staying stuck for a while.
And then again on Sunday, which he happened to call a "likely nor'easter."

This is not reassuring to those of my neighbors who are still waiting for the National Guard to get the tree limbs out of their street. I love to watch the snow fall - it's peaceful, and since I don't get to leave the house much, it gives me the feeling that other people are also comfortably ensconced beneath blankets, watching it drift down while they drink hot cocoa. Of course I know this is a false belief, as most people still have to leave their homes, regardless of snow, and are therefore toiling beneath heavy coats and hats, shoveling and scraping to get their cars out, but I still like to think it.

Plus side: chance of a white Christmas climbed to 85%.

You never know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our house

(or rather, the new preschool's next location)

smells so freaking good right now.

I love Christmas trees.

(at least as much as I can till it gets overwhelming and I have to shut the door, but that for the first day or so, when it's REALLY strong.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not what you expect at a birthday party, that's for sure.

So we had a big Clump Pt 1 party today (with about half of the clump being born between November and the end of the year, and the other half being born in January or February) and it went alright. I wound up doing too much, trying to run things that I should let other people run, but at least today I realized I was doing it and made myself take steps backwards. It's tough, though to see Lil Girl and Youngest Nephew behave so differently when their parents are around and not want to step in and say "No: that's not acceptable - at least not at our house!"

From the unexpected developments category, however, comes the following anecdote:

There's about 8 of us sitting around the table playing bullshit, when SisterCh looks over at the bedroom door and asks "Why is that door opening?" It shuts immediately, but I've seen the little face and the tiny fingers that caused the opening/shutting and am stunned: those little fingers, that little face belong to a little girl who is supposedly napping.

In her playpen.

That's right, Lil Girl had climbed out of her playpen, I still don't know how. All she could tell me afterwards is that she "Jumped". I don't think that's exactly the right word, but it certainly tells us that someone is ready to nap on a bed (which we haven't done before because this is a child who needs boundaries and the edge of a bed means very little. However, if the walls of a crib are also going to mean very little, the edge of a bed is a safer useless boundary.)

Oh, but wait: that's not all.

I went in to try to get her to go to sleep, and rather quickly figured out the reason that she wasn't sleeping: A pungently poopy pull-up.

Which she had left in her playpen, before her "jumping" out.

So, there she is bare-assed, and she says "I did pee pees" and let me tell you that I almost panicked, thinking about all the places she could have peed in my parents' bedroom, before she proudly towed me to the "big girl" (toddler) potty that is in there.

She had peed, so I put her up on the bed, and wiped her, got a new pull up on.

Surely that is the happy ending to our story? No? No.

I shut off the light and tried to get her to lay down again. She sat in my lap, and we rocked to the lullabies, and she gently caressed my face.

The odor of the poop was still pretty strong, though, so I asked her if she'd pooped again. "No."

I played with her hair, she played with mine.

Still: the smell.

And then a terrible thought occurred to me:

"Lil Girl, did you touch the poo poo with your handies?"


A big sigh of relief....

"No," she says, wiggling her hand in my face: "just my fingers."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did you know?

People, did you know that there's a poker app on Facebook?

Did you know that I have no time to play endless poker games on Facebook? Even if I am playing it at 4 in the morning after another long night of not sleeping.

Did you also know that I had 3 Aces? And quadrupled my (fake/Facebook) money in the course of one hand?

Yeah, I just thought you should know that.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just a random idea...

Dad Gone Mad has commenced Operation Comment your Balls/Boobs off (depending on your gender), and I think it's a fabulous idea.

So if you have time, don't forget to spread some comment love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A small freak out, which you can feel free to skip, followed by more bad news

So we do in fact have a preliminary buyer for our house: there's still an inspection to get through, but the house is damn old and we already told them that, so hopefully it won't turn up anything too surprising.

And while this is good, this is a good, good thing, it is also horrifying and panic inducing. I'm freaking out a little bit, and there's this ball of tension in my belly that's amped waaaaaaaaay up, mostly because, pending inspection, we're expected to clear out by February the 23rd. Which is basically, two months and two weeks from today.

We do not have anyplace to go once we leave here, and that, my friends, is a terrifying thought. I'm afraid of how fast my parents are going to burn through that money: if we find a permanent place to live right away, I'm worried about how much a mortgage is going to cost and how my parents haven't paid rent, let alone a mortgage in over 25 years, and how they're totally not being realistic about how much we're going to be spending now just to live somewhere. And about how my less than $500 a month isn't really going to help out all that much there.

If we don't find a permanent place right away (and we haven't in the nearly a year we've been looking, since there's so many constraints on what we need, let alone what we'd like), then how quickly are we going to go through our money renting some place accommodating enough for us (ok - me), and how will we ever be able to make that money back?

I'm really working very, very hard at not freaking out about those things, because they are, in very large part, beyond my control: we're looking, we'll have to go someplace, it's just that there's so many unanswered things right now and I HATE THAT.

I read a lot about people who can look at these sort of things - these challenges and changes - as adventures, and these sort of people - even the real life people whose blogs I read - take things as they come and don't really worry excessively and somehow it all turns out alright. I would give anything to be one of those people, but I'm just not.

I'm trying to see this as optimistically as possible, but there's also the reality of what's happening, and that is this: in two months and two weeks, unless we do some very hard work very soon, we will have nowhere to live.

Nowhere to live.

If that isn't scary to you, then I don't understand how your brain works. (Obviously).

Now, granted, I don't think it's possible that we'd wind up living in our van (which, also, sadly is deciding it should fall apart little piece by little piece, lately), but it's like my parents are living on a cloud of denial where our dream house is going to be A) affordable, B) immediately available, and C) Right next door! and so I feel like the less they are able to face reality, the more I have to think about it.

Not that thinking about it is doing me any good, because honestly, what good is worrying about it here going to do? I just need to get it all out of my head for a little bit, just put it here and LEAVE IT HERE for a while.

We are working hard - looking at houses and more houses and more houses, farther away than we want, really, but maybe our best option at this point. We're looking at two families to own and one families to rent; we're looking at long range hotel rooms and another storage container. (Confidentially, I've even looked into independent housing for myself, even though I know I'm not up to it health wise, but all of the housing for people with disabilities around here just isn't appropriate for me: I don't need most services, don't qualify for some I could use, and can't live in a group environment where someone else is making the rules about smells and chemicals and whatnot.) We're doing the work, but the answers haven't presented themselves yet, and I'm just not a "leave it to the universe" type of person.

The universe has screwed me on more than one occasion, you might recall, so I'm not exactly sure it's looking out for our best interests.

So, with all of that in my head, I sure am glad I have this place to just spew, and also ----

And also, as I was just finishing up this lovely little rant, a cousin calls to tell me that my great aunt - who I was not close to and really only knew through special occasions and the fact that she was our family kleptomaniac ("Is Irene coming? Make sure the Waterford crystal is not on the sidebar!) has passed away and I will be required to attend yet another funeral early next week.

It's like I said a few weeks ago: what I wake up worrying about is never the stuff I wind up worrying about at the end of the day, so why do I even bother?

2008 has been a sucky, sucky year, and if 2009 isn't better I might have to punch it in the face.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

First present

First present: wrapped, bubble wrapped, boxed and addressed (the actual mailing is not my job, really). Only about a zillion to go.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Well, if you put it that way.... .

"and he shall be a son, and you shall name him Jesus..."

"NO, Auntie NTE: Issa girl!"

"What, honey?"

"Da baby. That mama's baby: is gonna be a girl."

"um.. no, honey, that's the baby Jesus, remember? Yeah, and baby Jesus is a boy."

"He can be a girl, too. Anybody can be a girl."

Ah, feminism: starting early and interestingly, wouldn't you say?

(This is about 3 hours after we had a discussion about waiting for the "man who is coming to repair the dryer" and I had added that it could be a woman who might come, so it's nice to know that she's paying attention. Of course, the dryer repairMAN screwed that all up, what with his being male and all, but it's the thought that counts).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I'm downloading I-tunes

because, ugh, I'm trying to upload some Christmas music to my mum's I-pod, and I'm too lazy to figure out the Media Player apps that would make it work that way. So, I-tunes it is. Problem #A is that I have literally 7 GB of space left on my hard drive. As you can imagine that means it runs vvveeeryyy slow. Problem Letter2 is that 6 hours from now when the stupid thing is finally installed, I will have to figure out how to use I-tunes (which is supposedly very user friendly).

We shall see.

Nothing, after all, is idiot-proof.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Did you ever watch True Life?

Yeah, I know: it's on MTV, which, ordinarily keeps it off my radar screen, but it's been on all day today (and NOTHING else has... even my poor Tivo is out of options for me: grr), and I caught a few episodes.

Let me just say, if these lives are true, then I'm afraid for the world.

It's even scarier than The Hills (which I have never seen, except for the clips The Soup shows of it, but just from them it's one of the saddest things ever), because these people are living their lives this way. I just want to yell at them through the tv..."If he says he wants you and his pregnant girlfriend, then the correct response is not 'I'll think about it', but rather something that involves bodily orifices and sharp pointy objects!"

But I know they wouldn't listen - people can convince themselves of some crazy shit.

Friday, December 05, 2008

In case you are not lucky enough

to have a 2 1/2 year old in your life, let me explain what it is like.

It is like having a tiny, constant narrator to your life/day. It doesn't matter what you are doing, it will need to be said:

"You are eating breakfast?"
"You will take your medicine?"
"You gonna go potty?" (and, of course, "I come in wit chu.")
"You come play wit me now?"
"We play Care Bears. You be Grumpy."
"I'm playing Playdoh!"

There's questions, statements, exclamations, and a million different attitudes and variations, but no matter what you are doing, it will need to be said.

Many, many times.

If you have just said "I'm going to get the cars," then she will feel compelled to repeat that statement in the form of a question: "You goina get da cars?"

If you ask a question, "What are we going to do with this mess?" It will need to be repeated before it can be answered: "Whats we goin to do wit dis mess? We has to clean it up, da mess we made."

There will be orders: "You don't look at me!" and inquiries "Whats dat? Whatz dis? Where's she goin? Why she's doin that?" and chit chat aplenty, and it's all developmentally normal, and wonderful for all sorts of excellent reasons (vocabulary building, skill building, curiosity factor as an element of learning and growth, blah de blah about educational philosophy and all that here), but sometimes? You'd just like to do some ordinary something (let's say... going to the bathroom), without all of the constant chatter.

Who wants to watch the director's commentary before they've had a chance to actually enjoy the movie? Who needs someone to point out to an entire store full of people that, yes, you did actually just trip over absolutely nothing and almost knock down a display?

Most days, the "yiddle" one's loquaciousness is charming, a part of her that I wouldn't change for anything. Today? I just wanted to pee in peace.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Indian Givers!

Yesterday we went to Costco to escape a smell (the theme of my week could best be summed up in the musical I am currently writing: The World Smells - and It Hates Me), and they had The Tale of Beedle Bard by J.K. Rowling, sitting amongst their stacks of books. I was pretty happy, since I was going to pick it up for SisterK for Christmas, and it was a couple of bucks cheaper than Amazon. So I scooped one up and then entertained Lil Girl while Mum stood in line (it was a short line, but Lil Girl had reached the end of her patience and Pull Up by then). When she finally gets through, they told her that she couldn't buy it.

Turns out they were not supposed to put it out until today, and would get fined $10,000 if they sold it to us that extra day early.

I have to say that I only sort of wanted it until they told us we couldn't have it, and then I really, really wanted it. I also might have muttered something under my breath about how they would have to pay the $10,000 not me, and how maybe I didn't think that looked like such a bad deal to me. But I just let it go. But for those 10 seconds there, I was like "MINE!"

(Also: I don't like the term Indian Givers - unless it applies to the people who gave things to the Indians, and it doesn't - but I couldn't think of what else to call it... any suggestions?)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A little book love <3

I never knew that gifting books was soControversial. There seem to be a lot of people who fall into the "it's too personal a choice" category and would rather give/get gift cards. I am not one of those people.

I do always get the "But you read so much - and so fast - we don't know if you've already read it" type complaints from my family about buying me books. It's just that... I don't care: Even if I've already read it, that just means you know me really well, because you picked something that I picked for myself. And with Paperback Swap, no book goes to waste... if it's a double, I trade it for something I haven't read yet. So I think they worry needlessly. Because some of my all-time best presents were books: It was Nana who introduced me to Laura Ingalls Wilder and all the adventures in the big woods; one of my aunts that showed me the joys of Ramona Quimby, Age 8; and Grandmother who introduced me to the fabulous queen of romance, Nora Roberts; a friend who suggested I try Julia Quinn's Bridgertons.

But I can understand why some people would choose to shy away from giving books as gifts: Reading is intensly intimate.

I, however constantly find myself thinking of the people in my life as I am reading a book... Sister J is going to love Twilight, I thought as I was reading it, AND SHE SOO DOES: she now claims to be "obsessed to a scary point" with the characters and read more than 2000 pages in less than a week; Because it was the best book on writing I'd ever read, I gave 15 year old Sister K Escaping Out Into The Open for Christmas one year, and she was as enthralled as I was and - like me - she continues to look to it for inspiration.
I tell people that the reason Olivia is so popular is because way back when it first came out, I bought it for Best Friend/College Roommate for Christmas and the other girls in my dorm (a dorm full of education majors, mostly) borrowed it all the next semester & eventually bought their own copies because the kids in their classes loved it so much. I give grown up books to children (appropriate grown up books, watch your dirty minds) because when I was 11 my mother lent me her copy of It and it changed the way I looked at the world and I give children's books to adults because I want them to look at the world differently too.

The point is not what YOU like, exactly, but about what you think THEY'D like. You have to be considerate of their likes/dislikes.

For example, NEVER get anything that's preachy (if you're religious and they're not steer clear of the Christian based romances; if you're a liberal and they're a conservative staying away from I am America & So Can You is probably a good idea), but initiating people into something new is not completely out of line (like graphic novels? Try to find one that works for your recipient's likes, something new but not frightening so).

I don't understand people who don't like reading... it seems impossible to me. Usually, I tell them they just haven't met the right book yet, like a yenta who's sure she's got the right man up her sleeve, just waiting to be introduced.

Sometimes it doesn't work out (like the time I absolutely loved The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and passed it on to Mum, who thought it was just 'eh' or the time Grandmother sent over a book about a deaf priest and the miracles he's performing which.. not so much for me), but that's ok.

You just keep trying till you get the right match.

A perfect book: there's really nothing like it.

Which is all just really to say, please pop on over to Buy Books For the Holidays to check out my recommendations for Books to Buy for Romance Readers this holiday season

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Today I gave myself a time out

After a week filled with people coming and going, food that needed baking, children that needed minding (and reminding), nights that needed filling (as sleep was largely absent) and a whole lot of stuff that still needs to get done - and with an upcoming week that looks scheduled to the extreme as well, I came home from my grandmother's house today to find that Dad - who is on vacation this week and can't seem to stay on my good side when it comes to smells - had washed the kitchen floor (with barcolene), put up a new plastic (and odoriferous) shower curtain, and washed all the windows (with Windex!) That's three horrific smells all bundled together, and I nearly threw up - and then I nearly threw a fit.

Struggling to breathe - and not to cry - I decided I had had enough, and went in my room and shut the door. It was a little after 3, which is twilight around here this time of year, so I put some Christmas music on shuffle, the heating pads on high, and my head on the pillow.

I just laid here, in the dark: rotating every few minutes to relieve pressure on the sorest points and get heat onto a few different points, hitting the next key on my remote, during the volume up and down as I willed it. And I thought. I thought about all the things that have gone wrong since this time last year, and all the things that have gone right. I thought about how I don't know where we'll all be next month, let alone next Christmas. I thought about all of the issues that need to be dealt with within my family, and how I just don't want to be the person who has to deal with them any more. I thought about all the excuses, all the explanations; all the avoidances & all the annoyances. I thought about all the things we'd hoped for this year, and all the ways we've failed: all the ways I wanted my life to be different at this point, and all the ways I haven't managed to change it.

Basically, I laid around in a lot of pain, feeling sorry for myself, and figuring I deserved it.

And I did. I deserve to feel badly for all the things that haven't gone right - to mourn all of the losses we've accumulated. It's not out of line to have myself a little pity party when I've just come back from writing thank you notes to all the people who showed up at my uncle's funeral, to a house that's uninhabitable to me and people who get pissed off because they think they are helping when they are so obviously doing the opposite.

It's been a bad year, in a lot of ways. And the bad times? They don't look like they're especially ready to let up. So, ok: lay in the dark and feel sad for a little bit. Roll over and over with tears running down the sides of your face as you listen to songs that are supposed to be cheery. That's OK, that's alright, you're only human.

But then you have to look at all you've got, too: you have to get to the point where you're ready to say "Yeah, that really sucked. And it'll probably still suck tomorrow, too, but you can do it anyways."

And that's OK too. Because I know I can do it. Because as much as the people I love drive me crazy (and They Do. The End.), we're in this together. Because as much as it sucks that I feel this bad, I've felt worse. Because there is, at this very moment, some person in a lab coat looking at my blood and thinking 'WTF?', and a few years ago they weren't even doing that. Because as much as it's true that I'm nowhere near where I wanted to be at this point in my life, I've still got the chance, I've still got time & hope & opportunities.

So I'm going to remember to give myself some time outs in the next few weeks, as the always overwhelming holiday season interacts with grief and chaos to produce an even more stressful time for all of us. And if laying in the dark for a while with my brain shut off *as much as is possible for me* is what it takes to get through it, then that's what I'm going to do.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Some days the merits of hermit-dom seem really, really great.

The cheese in this video on sort-of makes me reconsider.

Sort of.